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When it comes to online friendships, a non-response is a response
Online friendships can be tricky because you have so much less information.
Hello, Friendship Rules,
I’m reaching out for your take on a friendship.
My friend and I met on a dating site. We were both looking for friends and if something more came about from it then we would embrace it.
We have been texting and voice chatting since May. We hadn’t met in person yet.
In June, my friend went to Europe to see family for a few weeks (it was planned way before we knew each other). We didn’t chat while my friend was on vacation, as it was friend's time with family.
When my friend got back we voice chatted a few days later as my friend was jet-lagged. Then the texts were minimal to none unless I initiated them, with responses being one-worded.
When I asked why my friend was so distant, the reply I got back was:
“Hi. Sorry for not texting. I am going through something very personal, and I am going to be off the radar for a while. You take care.”
I respected my friend's wishes, said I’m there for them if needing anything, and haven’t called or texted since mid-July.
Is this truly just needing space or is it a brush-off? I’m confused. I thought we had a great connection. And I really miss our conversations. Should I reach out to my friend? What do I say? Or wait another month? :(
P.S. I made the message gender-neutral so I get perspective from everyone. We are of the opposite sex.
We know how disappointing it is to feel a good connection with someone who suddenly ends the friendship without offering details as to why.
Online friendships can blossom into long-standing friendships (and romances) but this isn’t always the case. It’s likely you know far less about this person than if you had met them in real life because people often present themselves differently online, usually accentuating the positive.
If you do want to continue the relationship or are concerned about your friend, there’s no reason to wait any longer to reach out. Our suggestion would be to send a message like this:
Hope you are well. I sure miss our texts and voice chats. If you are up to connecting again, I would love to hear from you.
If you get no response, a non-response is a response (and tells you what you need to know).
Also, make sure you aren’t depending on any one person to fulfill your social needs.
Irene & Sheryl
One-sided breakups of online friendships often leave many unanswered questions.